The EU believes it is unlikely to deliver all of the pledged 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine by the March 2024 target, Bloomberg reported on Nov. 10, citing undisclosed sources.
According to a plan approved by the EU in March, the bloc would provide Ukraine with a million shells within a span of one year. The first step of the program involves reimbursing supplies from member states' own stocks, the second step is joint purchase of new munitions.
Bloomberg reported earlier in October that with more than half of the allocated time gone, the EU has delivered only 30% of planned supplies and risks missing its target.
This week, the EU's foreign policy arm, the European External Action Service, reportedly told member states' diplomats that the delivery will most likely not be completed by March next year, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
Some of the members have been reluctant to reveal details on their supply efforts, and the EU may ask them to provide more information, sources told the news outlet. The issue is reportedly to be discussed during an EU defense ministers' meeting next week.
The bloc's plan to ramp up shell production to boost Ukraine's artillery capabilities has been plagued by bureaucracy and protectionism of individual countries, an investigation by the Kyiv Independent and its partners revealed.
Ukraine's need for munition supplies becomes ever more pressing as Russia is boosting its defense budget for 2024 and was reportedly able to secure over 1 million shells from North Korea, while political infighting in Washington causes cutbacks in U.S. military support for Kyiv.